Category Archives: Gardening

This past fall my husband met a young woman who had created a product called Seeds in a Jar. In the jar were corn seeds, bean seeds, tomato seeds, sunflower seeds and butternut squash seeds. It was her desire that she would be able to introduce others to the joy of growing a garden and providing for their family.

 

My husband was given one Seeds in a Jar container for me to giveaway to one of my lucky readers! There is also a booklet that goes along with the Seeds in a Jar that has good information on choosing a garden spot, feeding your plants, saving seeds and much more. She even includes a cute print out of how far apart to plant your seeds. Along with the Seeds in a Jar I am also going to giveaway 4 of my Gete ohosomin squash seeds!Seeds In A Jar

 

If you are a seasoned gardener or someone that is planning a garden for the first time these are all wonderful seeds to plant this year. At the same time you will learn about raising chickens, plant basics as well as some information of goats.

 

The giveaway will run for one week which will give me plenty of time to mail your seeds to you in time to plant this gardening season! To enter click on the Rafflecopter below!Seeds In A Jar

 

At the same time be sure to enter the Rise and Shine Giveaway currently going on by clicking HERE. That giveaway is going on until April 7th!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

By July 1, 2017, The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation assures that waste haulers and drop-off centers must provide food scrap collection. I am more interested in managing my food scraps at home, it is simple and low-cost, and I can make wonderful compost, which is like black gold for my garden.gardening, composting, prudent living

 

The benefits of composting are many. It is a great soil amendment for my garden. Compost helps promote root development, enhances retention of water and nutrients and makes the soil easier to cultivate.What To do With Food Scraps

 

How to go about making compost from your food scraps? One simple method is to use a compost bin made of recycled plastic. Here in Vermont I can actually purchase these bins from the Solid Waste Management District. They are also available at our local hardware store. Once the snow has melted find a suitable site that’s convenient but also out of the way. It should be shaded and out of the wind. We have ours tucked in the corner of the yard. Our compost bin is within easy walking distance from the house yet not really visible when you drive in the driveway.What To Do With Food Scraps?

 

I also have a small compost container, which sits on my counter and is filled almost daily. When the container is filled it is brought outside and emptied into our larger bin.What To Do With Food Scraps?

 

When collecting materials to compost you want them to be in small enough pieces so that they will compost quickly. It is a good idea to layer your compost using one part of green material to 3 parts brown. Green materials are food scraps, manure, freshly cut grass, coffee grounds, and vegetable and fruit scraps. Brown materials are dry leaves, sawdust, shredded egg cartons, ground up eggshells, hair and wood ash.

 

Do not add meat scraps, diary products, oils or bones as they will attract pests. Do not use grass clippings that have been treated with pesticides or pet manure. Remember you will be putting your compost into your garden and you want it to be beneficial to your plants.

 

As the compost pile builds up you can either stir it with a shovel or remove the fresh compost from the bottom. We usually empty our compost bin each spring and dig it into our garden.What To Do With Food Scraps?

 

There are also other compost bins that you can build using pallets or wire. The bottom line is that composting is easy. Compost will take your food scraps and give you a supply of dark, crumbly hummus that will enhance your garden.What To Do With Food Scraps?

 

For some reason I have the perfect conditions to grow an aloe plant. The Aloe Vera plant is a popular houseplant with medicinal properties. The sap from the leaves has wonderful topical benefits, especially on burns and sunburns. I think I first started growing aloe plants when we lived in Florida over twenty years ago! These plants are an ideal addition to your home, and they are very easy to care for. In fact not only are they easy to care for, but propagating an aloe plant is also extremely easy.Propagating an Aloe Plant

 

My plant does so well that I find myself passing along baby plants to my friends. You might wonder how I do this. While you can actually grow an aloe plant from a leaf cutting it is much easier and more successful to propagate from offsets or “pups” .Propagating an Aloe Plant

 

Aloe vera is a succulent and as such, is related to the cactus. Cacti are fairly easy to propagate from cuttings, but aloe vera cuttings, with their high moisture content, rarely become viable plants. Rooting an aloe vera plant leaf seems like it should work, but all you will get is a rotten or shriveled leaf.

 

It is much easier to share this wonderful plant by removal of offsets. This is a simple process that anyone can easily do. If you look carefully at your aloe plant you will notice little aloe plants (offsets) forming off the mother plant. As a general rule the offset should be about 1/5 the size of the parent plant and should have several sets of true leaves.Propagating an Aloe Plant

 

When the offset is large enough remove the dirt from around the base. When you remove the offset you want to make sure it has a complete root system attached.Propagating an Aloe Plant

 

Plant the newly removed offset in a dry cacti-potting mix or make your own with one part potting soil and one part sand. Allow it to sit for one week and then water the soil. After this you would care for the aloe vera pup the same way you would the mother plant.Propagating an Aloe Plant

 

To successfully grown an aloe vera plant remember that the plant is a succulent and does well in a dry environment. They should be planted in a cactus potting soil mix and should have plenty of drainage. They do not like standing water. They also need bright light and do best in south or west facing windows.

 

Now you can not only grow your aloe plant successfully but you now know that propagating an aloe plant is easy and you can pass the aloe plant pups off to your friends!Propagating an Aloe Plant

Propagating a Christmas CactusDid you read my post on moving houseplants? If so you know that I can’t move all of my large plants with me. Instead I plan to propagate my Christmas cactus and have a much smaller pot to take with me. Propagating a Christmas cactus is very easy. This plant makes a great holiday gift for friends and family, so knowing how to propagate and grow Christmas cactus can give you extra plants to share with your friends!Propagating a Christmas Cactus

 

The first step is to simply take a short, y-shaped cutting from the stem top. The cutting should consist of at least two or three joined segments. Make sure all the cuttings are from healthy foliage.Propagating a Christmas Cactus

Allow the cutting to dry a few hours before potting it up for rooting, this will help to avoid any potential stem rot from excessive moisture.Propagating a Christmas Cactus

 

Once the cutting has dried for a couple of hours place the segment in a most peat and sand soil mix. Insert the segment about a quarter of its length below the soil surface. Place the pot in a well lit area, avoiding direct sunlight.Propagating a Christmas Cactus

 

Water the cutting sparingly at first to prevent rot. After two or three weeks the Christmas cactus cutting should begin to show signs of growth at the tips of its leaves. Once the cutting has rooted, it can be transplanted into a pot with loose potting soil. The cutting may wilt a little, which is normal and will eventually subside.Propagating a Christmas Cactus

 

Propagating a Christmas cactus is easy and can be very rewarding. Now you will have an inexpensive gift to give others during the holidays! My cutting is from a very large plant that belonged to my husband’s grandmother! I think everyone in the family has a plant started from cuttings! I’m happy to now have a smaller plant to move with us to our new home.

When making a cross-country move I am realizing that I will not be able to pack my plants into a moving box and have the movers transport them. Plants can’t go without light, air and water for ten days so I wondered what about moving houseplants.Moving Houseplants

 

In the past year I have actually begun to decrease the number of houseplants I have. I found a woman on Freecycle that wanted some house plants so she took a couple. I also had a friend who asked for a cutting of my Hoya plant, instead I took a cutting and gave her the plant.moving houseplants

 

My beautiful bay plant I will have to give a way. I can always grow another and it’s just gotten too large to move. My plan is to pack a couple of my favorite plants and load them in the car as we will be driving cross-country again.moving houseplants, Sweet Bay

 

However first I will have to check that my plants can cross state lines. Many states and countries require inspections for plants and have restrictions on the types of plants that can enter their borders.

 

As I mentioned I already took cuttings of my Hoya plants so I will just have a very small pot to move. I plan to do the same with my aloe plant. I will just transplant a few babies and get rid of the mother plant. I do have two Christmas cactus plants that are rather special. One is from a very large plant my grandmother-in-law had. This plant was so large it sat on a dining room table and took up the whole table. I think every family member has a cutting from that plant. So like the Hoyas and the aloe I will take cuttings and start a new plant. The last remaining plant is a Christmas Cactus that was my mother’s. Luckily the plant is not that large and I plan to move the whole plant. My goal is to have a small box that these plants will fit in to. I will make room in our car and they should survive the move without any problem. Hopefully when we do make the drive cross-country it won’t be in the winter so I won’t have to worry about cold weather affecting the plants.moving houseplants

 

Consulting with the movers they had several suggestions for moving your plants. Three weeks before moving day, re-pot the plants into unbreakable pots the same size. Two weeks before moving prune the larger plants by pinching back new growth. This will make the plants more compact for easy handling. One week before moving take a close look at your plants and make sure there are no insects or parasites. Two days before moving water your plants normally but take care not to overwater.

 

The day before moving I will pack my plants in a box so that they fit securely and there is no chance they might tip over. As soon as we arrive in our new destination the plants will be promptly unpacked. It may take them a few days to recover from a cross-country move but they should all do fine in their new home!moving houseplants

Winter Reading: Seed Catalog Time

 

The weather outside may be frightful but my favorite thing to do on a cold winter’s day is sit by the woodstove and enjoy some seed catalog time. It’s the time of the year when the seed catalogs are arriving in the mail and it’s so much fun to look through them and plan a garden for the spring. I love to garden and if I can’t actually have my hands in the the dirt planning a garden is the next best thing!seed catalog time

 

My all time favorite catalog is Solstice Seeds. This is put out by local seed saver Sylvia ?. You may remember that I took a seed saving class from her several years go. She is meticulous in keeping track of her plants and growing conditions etc. Any seed I have ever purchased from her has a great germination rate and will do well in my garden. Sylvia’s seeds are all heirloom and her hope is that you too will begin saving your own seeds! This will be her last year of putting out a catalog. She will be moving on to other things and sincerely hopes that everyone that has purchased seeds from her in the past will now begin to save their own seeds. I have to say that Sylvia’s seed catalog, Solstice Seeds is by far my most favorite catalog. I know that all the seeds offered in this catalog were grown less than twenty miles from my home! Sylvia does not have a web site but if anyone is interested I’d be glad to send you a pdf of her catalog. Just contact me!seed catalog time

 

Another favorite Vermont Catalog is the High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog. I just love shopping local and supporting other Vermont businesses. I haven’t received this catalog yet this year but I’m expecting it any day!seed catalog time

 

Fedco is also another favorite. A company in Maine puts out this catalog. They carry a wide assortment of seeds some heirloom, and some not. The catalog is printed on newsprint and the only pictures you’ll see are drawings. If you want to see what an actually plant or vegetable will look like you will have to look elsewhere.seed catalog time

 

Baker Seed Heirloom Seeds Catalog is the catalog I spend the most time reading. All the seeds are heirloom and each seed has it’s own story! I was so excited to see that this year they will be carrying the Gete okosomin seeds.Gete okosomin If you haven’t had a chance to check out their catalog go online and request one. You’ll be glad you did their photographs are amazing!Gete okosomin

 

One last catalogs worthy of mentioning is the Seed Savers Exchange catalog, although not local, it is a catalog full of heirloom and open pollinated seeds. For 40 years the Seed Savers Exchange has been in the forefront of the heirloom seed movement, working with gardeners and seed savers to preserve our garden and food heritage.seed catalog time

 

Usually I start my own seeds but this year I will be relying on a local farmer who has a wonderful selection of heirloom seedlings. img_8238 As we continue to de-clutter and get ready for an eventual move there are some things I am cutting back on. I look forward to the day when life resume a more normal routine and I can go back to starting my own seeds once again. Are you a gardener? What are your favorite catalogs?seed catalog time

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